In the media of late, SEALs have been lumped in with a great many other SOF units seeming to be just another elite form of a conventional unit. However, due to their many unique assets, frogmen have an illustrious history with many noteworthy accomplishments outside of the predominantly land warfare mission of the last 15 years.
In that light, what follows is a brief timeline of UDT/SEAL history:
January 1962: Two Navy Sea Air Land (SEAL) operating teams are established to conduct unconventional warfare and counter-guerrilla operations. SEAL Team One is formed in Coronado, and SEAL Team Two is established at Little Creek, Va. The first SEALs are selected from existing Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT), the “frogmen” responsible for clearing the way for beach landings in World War II and Korea. Almost immediately, SEALs begin acting as advisers in Vietnam.
February 1966-Dec. 7, 1971: SEAL teams conduct direct missions in Vietnam. Three Medals of Honor and seven Navy Crosses are awarded to UDT/SEAL team members for service in that conflict, and 49 UDT/SEALs are killed.
May 1, 1983: The teams drop the UDT designation and are redesignated as SEAL teams or Swimmer Delivery Vehicle Teams (SDVT).
October 1983: A SEAL team infiltrates the capital of Grenada during the U.S. invasion and secures the Government House.
August 1990: SEALs from San Diego are first into Saudi Arabia in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
January 1991: SEALs are involved in combat activities during Operation Desert Storm, including the capture of oil platforms used by Iraqi soldiers as anti-aircraft positions. SEALs also participated in combat operations in Somalia, Haiti and elsewhere in the 1990s.
Oct. 22, 2007: President Bush awards a posthumous Medal of Honor to Lt. Michael P. Murphy, 29, a SEAL from Patchogue, N.Y. Murphy was killed on June 28, 2005, while leading a reconnaissance team in Afghanistan.
April 7, 2008: SEAL Michael Anthony Monsoor is awarded the Medal of Honor. Monsoor, a Coronado-based sailor, threw himself on a grenade in Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 29, 2006.
April 12, 2009: SEAL snipers kill three Somali pirates and rescue an American cargo-ship captain, ending a five-day standoff.
Feb. 11, 2011: Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus presents the Silver and Bronze stars to Joseph Molina, a Coronado-based SEAL who grew up in Imperial Beach, for his actions in Afghanistan in 2009.
May 2, 2011: SEALs storm a fortified compound in Pakistan and kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
This article was originally published on Jan. 15, 2012 and written by Brandon Webb